About Family Mediation

Mediation is a process for making decisions about issues and settling disputes.  There can be two or more participating “decision makers” and a mediator–a neutral person who helps the participants reach decisions and form an agreement.

When a relationship breaks down or a marriage is over, many people just don’t know where to start.  They don’t have any information about how divorce and separation work–or they have some, but aren’t sure it’s good information.  A family mediator can help to educate both participants about how divorce and separation work in Ontario if one or both of the participants lives in Ontario.  Although mediators don’t give participants legal advice, they use the process to empower the participants to reach informed decisions that work best for their family in their own unique and changing circumstances.

Mediation isn’t the solution for every family.  That’s why family mediation involves a screening process to identify possible problems before mediation starts.  In a lot of cases, problems can be solved early and won’t prevent mediation from going ahead.  Sometimes it’s helpful to use other professionals within the mediation process–like financial experts or mental health professionals–to help things move smoothly toward a mutually satisfying and beneficial conclusion.

Although the divorce and separation process can be an emotional one that involves some level of disagreement, one of the benefits of mediation is that it’s a private process.  Court processes are public and anyone can access your sensitive information.  The financial and personal information you share in mediation will remain private unless you decide to disclose it.

Karen uses is a series of online meetings that result in a written agreement.  Participants have the options of getting legal advice about their agreement before signing it and they can decide whether or not to file the agreement with enforcement institutions like the Court or the Family Responsibility Office.

Mediated agreements are more likely to be followed voluntarily than decisions made by third parties, like judges, because the participants have made their own decisions and their concerns have been heard.  In mediation, participants can achieve mutual understanding and better communication to enter a new phase of collaboration when mediation ends.  Depending on a family’s situation, these can be important factors in finding lasting peace, avoiding future conflict and adapting to future changes as the family evolves.  Developing the ability to work together when it’s necessary can spare participants years of emotional–and financial–pain.

For many participants, one of the most attractive features of mediation is its lower cost compared to going to court or using lawyers.  While it’s still possible to get legal advice about a mediated agreement, doing most of the work with a mediator, and getting advice about an agreement can save participants tens of thousands of dollars.

Family Mediation isn’t just for separation and divorce.  The process can be used to resolve differences between family members about financial and living arrangements, division of family responsibilities, sharing of family resources, time and contact with grandchildren, and many other things.

If you would like to learn more about how mediation could work for you, complete the contact form below, or book a brief introductory meeting at no cost to you.  I am happy to meet  with prospective clients to answer their questions about mediation to help them decide if it’s the right process to solve their family problem.